Chapmania Further Grips Cincy in Reds 6-1 Win

Chapmania has tightened its grip on Cincinnati. Tuesday night, it was pretty much the launch of the Cuban Missile and Joey Votto. Last night, the phenom that is Aroldis Chapman had more of a supporting cast. And the game was settled within one inning of play.

With the Reds trailing 1-0 to the Milwaukee Brewers, Reds manager Dusty Baker inserted Chapman in the top of the 7th inning. Starter Johnny Cueto had pitched 6 nice innings (1 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 2 K) and deserved a better fate, but he was at 108 pitches (64 for strikes). Chapman pulled a repeat performance of Tuesday: three up, three down…and topping out at an official 103.9 mph. 103.9 mph was the fastest pitch clocked in MLB in three years! In the two innings during Chapman’s brief career: 2 IP, 0H, 0R, 3K, 6 batters faced. No words can factually describe how this kid has electrified and entire franchise and fanbase.

The cast:
Miguel Cairo. Once again, the super sub came through in the clutch. Cairo started at second base. With Brandon Phillips still on the mend and Chris Valaika receiving a day off, Cairo once again displayed why he’s on the roster. In the bottom of the now fateful (to the Brewers) 7th inning, Cairo laced a double into the left field gap off loser and former Red Todd Coffey, plating Phillips, who was pinch-running for Ramon Hernandez. That hit knotted the score at 1-1. For the game, Cairo was 2-3, 1 R, 1 RBI.

Ryan Hanigan. Reds fans should be over the point where anything this kid does with a bat actually surprises them. Except when Hanny pulls off a three-run, pinch-hit homer. The first pinch-hit homer of his career. Baker sent Hanigan to pinch-hit for Chapman. Seemed odd maybe at first. Baker had lefties on the bench (Juan Francisco and Yonder Alonso), but Baker felt more comfortable with the more expreienced right-handed bat of Hanigan. The hunch paid off big. After the upper deck shot, it was Reds 4, Brewers 1.

Scott Rolen. We know of his leadership. We know of his steady play. We know of his bat and glove. Both were on display last night. The bat provided the final two runs in the 6-1 win. The glove (and arm) dazzled the crowd of 16,412 at Great American with no less than three defensive gems. We hear all the chants for Votto as the NL MVP, how about Rolen receiving a Gold Glove? More than deserving.

One last point about last night’s contest. Was it me or did seem odd that Brewers manager Ken Macha yanked starter Chris Narveson rather hastily in the 7th? Narveson has struck out Jonny Gomes to begin the inning and walked Ramon Hernandez. Macha, who was extremely hesitant to go to his bullpen in the first two games of the series, quickly popped out of the dugout to replace Narveson with Coffey. Narveson was the Brewers up to that point. He was cruising throught the Reds lineup to that point (97 pitches, 57 for strikes, 2 H, 2 BB, 6 K) Plus, Narveson had driven in the only run of the game with a single in the 5th. To make the decision look even more questionable, Coffey failed to retire a single batter.

Lost in all the hoopla of another Reds win coupled with another Cardinals loss (5-2 to Houston. Thanks, Astros!) extending the NL Central lead to an astounding 8 games, was the major league debut of Yonder Alonso. The Reds top pick from 2009 entered the game as a pinch-hitter during the bottom of the 7th. Not as successful a debut as Chapman had (a weak groundout to the pitcher), but Alonso will get his hacks.